Today: May 22, 2024

True confessions and views of a male feminist

By:

Steve Miller

Opinions Editor

Sometimes when I roll up my sleeves someone will ask, “What’s that on your arm?” On my left bicep I have the word “jezebel” tattooed. The first usual response is “What does that mean?” I’ve even had some older individuals tell me that I “must not know what that words actually means.” Well, I do—it’s a reminder to stand up for equality and against gender-stereotypes in today’s modern culture.

When you look up the word “jezebel” in the dictionary it has a number a meanings. Most people associate a jezebel as being a shameless, wicked or scheming woman. The definition is in reference to the biblical story of Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, a Phoenician princess and Queen of Ancient Israel who appears in the Old Testament.

Supposedly she incited heresy and lured the Jews away from their God and back to paganism. Jezebel was finally deposed by Jehu, who confronted her and had her thrown from the palace window to the streets, where her body was eaten by wild dogs. But I look at this story from a different perspective.

The idea of gender-politics in this case shamed a different way of life and a seemingly dangerous way of thought. Rather than promoting religious tolerance, the Bible degrades Jezebel and paints her to be a harlot, not a woman who stood up to male dominance for her beliefs and in the face of adversity while displaying strength, courage and determination. This is the definition I believe in and why I made the choice to have the name permanently tattooed on my body.

The concept of the male feminist is a touchy subject. Some women and men believe a male feminist is self-hating or just looking for sex—and I couldn’t disagree more. I’m not a feminist because I hate myself; I’m a feminist because it’s the right thing to do! I defend women not because they need me to, or I feel obligated to do so—it’s a matter of supporting a group of like-minded individuals who strive for cultural ideals of equality.

My feminist beliefs also stem from my support of the Gay Rights movement. Throughout my life I’ve faced adversity in regards to my sexuality. Though the majority of people I know are supportive I’ve had to stand up against homophobic comments. Whether or not these sexual epithets were directed at me does not matter. Just as I confront people in the halls whenever I hear them use the word ‘gay’ to describe something in a negative sense, it drives me crazy when I hear someone objectifying women. I refuse to accept the fact that we live in a society that views women as over-emotional, and objects or lust rather than promoting gender equality and gender justice.

The process of the way our society thinks needs to change. Men need to recognize the negativity of male privilege and realize that these societal concepts affect everyone, not just women. If “less-privileged” groups are being oppressed, society as a whole is being oppressed. Female objectification not only affects the way women are perceived but men as well.

Ultimately I do not believe supporting feminism categorizes an individual in a radical, man-hating, emasculating group. If more men identified with feminist ideals, personally recognized and confronted their gender privileges, and enlightened others about gender issues, society would be a better place. So next time you describe a woman as a slut, whore, or only attribute her worth based on physical qualities take the time to think about what you’re really saying, and think before you speak. My name is Steve Miller and I am a male feminist.

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